Hey everyone! Thank you so much for the lovely responses to my Carbonara! Check it out in the previous post if you've not seen it yet.
For my second pasta dish, I was actually in two minds what to do because I had two ideas for flavour and two ideas for styles but I was missing an ingredient. That kinda sounds like maths right? No I'm kidding. I knew I had to start off with my pesto concept but whether to do it baked or in a traditional pan was conflicting. I totally decided that I'd flip my original idea and do the pesto dish in a baked style and I've added some extra tips to keep it super healthy and a little bit fresher for the summer!
So this is a really simple and nutritious meal and I am a huge fan of pesto. The problem with pesto is that when you buy it shop bought, it doesn't keep all of the freshness you get when you make it from scratch. It's also mega heavy in cheese, it can also be super fattening because of the oil. So if you wanted an alternative that's more of a simplified down version that cooks out with a fresher taste, isn't so calorific then this ones for you!
- Yellow Tomatoes
- Red Tomatoes
- Fresh Peas
- Pine Nuts
- Vegan Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Onion Salt
- Garlic Powder
- Soy Yogurt
- Pasta of your choice (Gluten free here)
- White Onion
So let's start off with the pasta. This pasta is super easy to cook, it's mill and rice based so it only takes five minutes to boil. Get that done ahead of time and pop it on the side. Fry off a green or white onion and you can do this in salt to keep it from burning. I used some fresh peas today but I guess you could use frozen, this is the best tip for all green meals! If you are a fan of guac but you don't love the calories, mix peas in with the blender instead of using just avocado and it cuts the fat down by half. It's super easy, you can do the same thing with this pesto. I steamed these peas in a large jug to start.
With a hand blender, I added fresh spinach that I popped in the pan with the onions to wilt down slightly, basil, pine nuts, soy yoghurt, garlic and onion salt. I'm not gonna give exact measurements because it is totally dependent on what you want it to be, you can keep it light or add the more indulgent ingredients. I also would advise adding something like nutritional yeast or a cheese replacement like a cream cheese made of coconut for flavor. It just adds more of that expected taste as the peas create more of a fresher sauce. Blend that all together and set aside.
With the tomatoes, I sliced them into smaller bites and fried them in olive oil and peppercorns. When they start to fizz add some apple cider or wine vinegar and it really changes the flavour of the dish as a whole when cooked at the end. It takes about three minutes.
Now the easy part, you just have to assemble the components in a large dish! I've added the pasta first, placed the tomatoes on top for colour with some basil! I then popped in some vegan cheese on top, this may melt and then the texture can get very crisped and have a burn to it, so it depends how you like to eat it, it goes more like a puffed cheese texture and is different to what you expect so add it in maybe five minutes before the dish comes out the oven if you want it to be more like conventional cheese. I popped it in the over for 25 minutes and you're good to go!
Here is the final dish, super easy, I mixed some garlic with the plain yogurt and added it throughout the bake. It just gives an extra creaminess! I also finished with a lovely sprig of basil for taste.
Serve with olives, a bloody mary and enjoy!
So here is a minor revision to this recipe! I am a perfectionist as you all know and I loved the taste of my dish but it was not the exact look I wanted because of the vegan cheese. It's a hard one to do so what I've done, is I've used an alternative brand I got in a store called Infinity Food which I grated on top as shown below!
I want this to be more of a refined look because sometimes vegan food doesn't look the part, so hopefully we can combine the two and get it right together! This is a total new outlet for me and I'm so grateful for all the praise, but I'm gonna be as disciplined as my other work and get it FLAWLESS for the girlz.
So here is the final image! Try grating a stronger cheese over the top.
Hope you enjoy.